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To Laminate, or Not To Laminate?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by CBilkes, Jun 27, 2019.

  1. CBilkes

    CBilkes New Member

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    Hey peeps. I just got my first vinyl job and I'm wondering how necessary it will be to laminate the material. I'm installing gloss adhesive vinyl to an outdoor storage shed door 8'x8'. Do I need to laminate this? Also, what material should I use if I do/don't need to laminate?

    Assuming I do need to laminate an outdoor application, here is my next question:
    What are some methods for lamination I can use other than purchasing a laminating machine? I plan to eventually, but it's just not in the budget right now. Research I've done has shown a wet application as well as a spray lamination. Any recommendations?

    Printing will be done on a Roland SG540.

    Thanks for any help.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
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  2. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Yes unless you want to re do it frequently
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. CBilkes

    CBilkes New Member

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    Yeah I kinda figured that. I edited my post to also ask about lamination method alternatives to a machine. Any ideas?
     
  4. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    You can buy a 51in wide manual laminator for $250 on Amazon, it's much better than hand laminating a film.

    The other option is spray or mop on a liquid laminate.
     
  5. CBilkes

    CBilkes New Member

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    Awesome thanks! I'll check out the one on Amazon
     
  6. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    We liked our OrangeA laminator
     
  7. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    You could always use a spray laminate. Get a rattle can or two of the stuff and there ya go. Much depends on which way the sign is facing and your geographical location.
     
  8. CBilkes

    CBilkes New Member

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    Do you have any recommendations on what type of spray and where I can purchase it? Thanks!
     
  9. henryz

    henryz Member

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    You can do wet lam, you will need 2 people but it shouldn't take more than 5 min. Use a large window squeegee to lay it flat then a silkscreen squeegee to finish it. After a few of these you can buy a Seal laminator.
     
  10. CBilkes

    CBilkes New Member

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    I'm kinda interested in trying this out. Is there a good tutorial video you know of? Also, what solution is used for a wet lam process?
     
  11. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Just about any sign supply distributor. It comes liquid or spray. An 8x8 is not all that big to spray. Take maybe 10 minutes to spray all in one direction, wait 15 minutes and spray perpendicular to the first pattern. Let it air dry for an hour or two, before you play with it.
     
  12. CBilkes

    CBilkes New Member

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    How durable is a liquid laminate when used on a piece with multiple cuts? The storage shed door I'm installing the vinyl on has many 3" horizontal panels that will require a lot of splitting and sinking. I just want to make sure the lam won't flake off with all of these cuts.

    After researching some products, it looks like its a toss up between Frog Juice and Clearshield. Do you guys have any experience or preference between the two?
     
  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Have both on the shelves here. Both will get good reviews and some bad reviews. All depends on how well the people using it..... uses it. You can get an extra year or 18 months outta spray. About the same as rigid lam. Liquid will do even better. Again, do it correctly and it will last. We rigid lam more things than not, but the sprays are great for those little incidental things.
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Mascitti Bro

    Mascitti Bro Member

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    Being new to the print-side of things earlier this year, I had the same questions. I found that the laminate part of the process is very important, adding soooo much more durability to your work, etc. (also, anything not laminated will have the ink run off it almost immediately after wiping it down with anything stronger than a wet paper towel.) Bottom line- it was an unplanned expense, but you gotta do it or your wasting yours and customers time/money. Good luck...
     
  15. Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?

    Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay? Very Active Member

    The Big Squeegee works well enough for laminating, but only if you have a very flat work surface and there is a bit of a learning curve involved.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    if you don't have a laminator, then don't bother. ....eventually, you'll see why a laminator will be a necessary addition to your business if you wish to continue down this road.

    if you do manage to apply your graphic, without ruining your unlaminated print, and wish to finish it for durability....then any clear poly should do. same method as clear coating a painted finish. scuff/clean/spray or roll/pray.
     
  17. lyndawayne

    lyndawayne Member

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    I use Clearshield most of the time. Have had very good luck with it.
     
  18. player

    player Major Contributor

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    Roll on Clearshield with a small low hair roller if you can't buy a decent laminator.
     
  19. netsol

    netsol Very Active Member

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    not to stte the ovviou, a laminator can be a mjor expense.
    i got 2 of mine (seal 44" & daige 38" from craigslist & ebay)

    i wish the seal was a 54"
     
  20. OPENSignsInc.

    OPENSignsInc. Member

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    I'd recomend getting a laminator (see if you can lease one). We still got our 44in ledco signmaster from when we had our Summa DC3. Then when we got our 1st mimaki (jv33-130), but before we got our gfp 455th, we would use frog juice or clearshield. Frog juice was better but was more expensive & finicky to apply. The downsides with wet lams is drytime taking up table space (we usually did it at the end of the day so it wasn't in the way) & you got to be careful with dust and bugs getting stuck. We usually used a foam roller and drug it across the frog juice with a screw in it to keep it from rolling.
     
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